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The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency that investigates airline accidents and other major transportation incidents and makes safety recommendations based on its findings.

The agency's conducted 29 investigations involving fatal airline crashes over the past ten years, including Continental Flight 3407. The entire docket relating to the Flight 3407 investigation includes the cockpit voice recorder transcript [PDF], Colgan Air's summary of the accident [PDF] and much more.

In November 2008 the NTSB issued its Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, covering six aviation safety issues, including improving runway safety and reducing accidents and incidents caused by human fatigue. In all six areas the agency rates the FAA's response as "unacceptable."

Tensions between the two agencies were evident during the Feb. 2, 2010, hearing that released the NTSB's findings on the crash of Continental 3407. Deborah Hersman, head of the agency, stated that ''We have made recommendations time after time after time. They haven't been heeded by the FAA.'' The FAA issued a response, asserting that "In the past year, the FAA has driven significant improvements in pilot professionalism, training and background checks."

UPDATE: The NTSB held its first-ever code-sharing symposium on Oct. 26-27, 2010. You can read the conference goals and agenda, and view a webcast of the symposium here.

posted february 9, 2010; updated december 8, 2010

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